Toronto Port Authority provides update regarding proposed pedestrian tunnel to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport terminal
Fourteen firms express formal interest in participating in proposed Public-Private Partnership (P-3)
The Toronto Port Authority (“TPA”) advised today that it had received 14 written Expressions of Interest regarding the proposed pedestrian tunnel connecting the mainland to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (“BBTCA”) under the Western Gap of the Toronto harbour.
On July 7, 2010, the TPA issued the formal request for Expressions of Interest from interested parties, with a deadline of July 23, 2010. The 14 respondents represent a wide variety of domestic and international construction firms, institutional infrastructure investors, and regulated financial institutions.
“The TPA is pleased with the initial response it has received from the P-3 marketplace,” said Mark McQueen, Chairman of the TPA Board of Directors. “This proposed project has attracted initial interest from a broad cross-section of well known Canadian, American and European proponents with the right combination of experience and financial capacity to partner with us on this necessary infrastructure project.”
On August 9, 2010, the TPA issued a Request for Qualifications for the proposed pedestrian tunnel project. Based upon the responses received via this next stage of the process, the TPA expects to identify, in accordance with the terms of the RFQ, a target short list of three consortia to be invited to participate in the next stage of the competitive selection process.
As previously announced, the TPA initiated an environmental assessment in February, 2010, as required under applicable legislation. The environmental assessment considers not only the construction and operation of the proposed project, but also the cumulative effects of the project related to airline passenger use, local vehicular traffic, and noise and air quality impact, among other factors. After an initial public consultation session held on March 24, 2010, the TPA and the independent environmental assessment consultant Dillon are maintaining a public exchange and dialogue process that has included making information available on the TPA’s website, obtaining and considering comments and questions, obtaining information from government agencies, and meeting with stakeholders. It is expected that the draft environmental assessment screening report will be available for distribution and public review and comment this Fall. The TPA will then hold another public meeting to obtain further input on the environmental assessment and the proposed project. The TPA expects it will subsequently make a decision whether to proceed with the project in light of the results of the environmental assessment and taking into consideration the matters required, including comments emanating from public consultation.
As previously announced, 100 per cent of the cost of design, building, financing and maintaining the tunnel will be ultimately borne by departing passengers via the BBTCA’s existing $20 Airport Improvement Fee (“AIF”). For comparison purposes, each passenger at Pearson International Airport currently pays an AIF of $25 per departing flight.
“Billy Bishop Airport has experienced a 25-fold increase in traffic in a short timeframe,” added Geoffrey A. Wilson, President and CEO of the TPA. “Although the TPA provides suitable ferry capacity for the current volume of commercial passengers, our ability to provide efficient peak service in the coming years requires more than just a single access strategy.”
“The analysis conducted on our behalf by our financial advisors suggests the proposed pedestrian tunnel is a viable initiative,” continued Mr. McQueen. “The addition of commercial service by Air Canada and Continental Airlines may well enhance the long term attraction of the airport to infrastructure investors.”
The TPA would continue to operate the ferry Marilyn Bell I to provide airport access for fuel and catering vehicles, construction equipment, cargo operators, and ambulances transporting patients and organs to Medevac aircraft. The TPA’s existing ferry service does not operate between midnight and 5:30 a.m., and as such, the proposed tunnel would provide paramedics and patients safe, reliable, round-the-clock access to downtown Toronto hospitals. The BBTCA is closed to private and commercial air traffic between 11:00 p.m. and 6:45 a.m. each day.
As previously announced, the TPA has not approached any level of government for financial assistance in relation to this specific project concept, and has no intention of seeking public sector funds to assist in the construction and operation of the proposed P-3 pedestrian tunnel.
About the Toronto Port Authority
The Toronto Port Authority was incorporated on June 8, 1999 as a government business enterprise under the Canada Marine Act as the successor to the Toronto Harbour Commissioners. It is a federal public authority providing transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses. The TPA owns and operates the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Marine Terminals 51 and 52, and the Outer Harbour Marina. The TPA also provides regulatory controls and public works services to enhance the safety and efficiency of marine navigation and aviation in the port and harbour of Toronto.
Further information about the TPA is available at www.torontoport.com.
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